Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Phot's Moll

I've been on phot's moll duties the last few days (it's like being a gangster's moll, but we use cameras not guns and there's generally less need for leather mini skirts*) I've managed some writing too!

Can you guess where we are now? The second picture is a clue. The answer explains why I've not been online much.

*I've never actually needed to wear a leather mini skirt in the line of duty.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The thing on the thing

As we drove into Oban Gary declared, 'Oh there's the thing on the thing'. As we've been to Carnasserie Castle and Dunstaffnage Castle recently, plus a dozen others, lots of lochs, various views, mountains of mountains (sorry) I think he can be forgiven for giving up on remembering what things are called and tackling the pronunciation of a few places, don't you?

This is McCaig's Tower (the thing on the thing) Do you ever give things or people odd names which then stick?
Carnasserie Castle (I climbed five stories up the stone spiral staircase to get you that shot)
 Dunstaffnage Castle. It doesn't actually slope like that, but there was some horrible red tape which I managed to hide behind the cannon, but only by throwing myself down a small embankment and it seems I can't do that and hold the camera level.

If you've not seen enough of my holiday pictures yet, you can find more on my other blog.

And if you don't have enough reason yet to hate me, I'll casually throw in the news that Woman's Weekly have just accepted another of my stories.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Athirst can mean thirsty (from the Old English ofthyrst apparently). It also means eager or strongly desirous as in athirst for knowledge. I think I'll combine them into athirst for a nice cold glass of wine.

The second definition surprised me. I'd heard the phrase and understood the meaning, but had thought it was written as 'a thirst for knowledge'.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Inspired to work

A few days ago we took this ferry to the small island of Gigha. We followed the sign and (eventually) found the beach where I went swimming.

 I've just finished the first draft of a story about a woman who gets the ferry to Gigha with her husband. They followed the sign and (eventually) found the beach where she went swimming.

In other writing news, one of my stories has just been accepted by pages of stories. Coincidentally it's about postcards and I'd posted some shortly before getting the news.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The great outdoors

If you've been reading this blog for the last few weeks you'll know Gary and I are currently wandering from place to place in our van. I'm loving it, but my 'no fixed abode' status is temporary and voluntary. We can go home anytime we like. That's not the case for everyone and this writing competition aims to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness and help people who're in that unfortunate position.

Entry is free, but donations to the charity are suggested for those entrants who can afford to make them. First prize is a 5 day residential Arvon course.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

I should get away with this ...

I've decided to distract you from the fact I've not written much on this trip with a few photos ...

This one perhaps makes me look braver than I was - but we have done quite a bit of scrambling up hills and over rocks.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Yes! Yes! Yes!

It was lovely to meet up with writer friend Karen Jones, for the first time in about five years, recently. We talked a lot, ate hardly any cake and then headed off to an art gallery near Glasgow Cathedral.

Karen left us just before we went into the cathedral, maybe that was to be expected from the author of The Upside Down Jesus?

The post title refers to the two 'yes' rallies Gary and I somehow ended up in the middle of both before and after meeting Karen.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


A paraselene is a bright spot, especially on a lunar halo. It's sometimes known as a mock or false moon. I'm not sure I entirely follow, but it's a nice word and maybe my friend Sheila will come along and explain it properly.

The picture is of the actual moon, taken by Gary. He's one of the bright spots in my life.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Made it!

 We made it to Scotland! I choose this picture because Gary was far enough away that you can't see I'm opening a bottle to celebrate. Er, so now you don't know about that ...
Couldn't decide which cliched Scottish image to go with, but I was very taken with the hinges on a historic house we visited.
I haven't really done any writing, but we're having a wonderful time - and we've received a very warm welcome.

Friday, 12 September 2014

A coincidence?

We left our overnight stop, which was somewhere in the Penines (not sure where as we didn't end up where we'd expected!) 

And headed for Penrith Castle. It was once home to Richard III before he became king.

The castle is located in the grounds of a pretty park, so naturally I visited the gardens. Afterwards I quickly checked my emails and discovered my story 'A Garden Visit' has been accepted by The weekly News and will be in the 13th september issue.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Hard at it!

I said I'd be working, didn't I? Here I am with my current muse, plotting my next story.

Telford seems to be a bit of a theme so far - hebuilt this suspension bridge.

Which is right next to this castle. Do you know where they are?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Looking at the view

Here's Gary photographing the view on the second day of our trip (er yes, he is stood just behind the sign warning of dangerous cliffs. He's like that) View used in this context means what is seen from a particular point. Of course what we can see might be a row of overflowing bins, but usually it's taken to refer to a picturesque, natural scene.

It can also mean the extent of visibility (his mistake was made in full view of his mother-in-law) a visual or mental survey (she viewed the results), an opinion or mental attitude (his mother-in-law held strong views about his intelligence) or with the aim of attaining something (she had a view to a divorce) or to bear something in mind (in view of what she'd seen him do).

A viewing is an opportunity for a visual inspection, such as when house hunting. Once you've viewed it you might want to take a long term view of it's suitability.

In view of the length of this post, I'll stop now and fill the kettle with a view to making a nice pot of tea.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I was right

I said we'd be staying somewhere scenic and I was right (see it can happen) Not bad eh?

OK I'm cheating. That picture was taken a good five minute walk from where we stayed.

 This is a picture of the actual campsite.

If you'd like to see even more pictures of our trip then keep an eye on my other blog over the next few weeks. (That doesn't mean you'll escape them here though!)

Meet Willow, my dad's new dog. Even I can't pretend she has anything to do with this blog, but she's so cute I'm fairly sure you'll forgive me.

She has something to do with the trip as we started it with a visit to my dad and step-mum. The actual trip is writing related. It's research.

Oh and I even have writing news. Woman's Weekly have just accepted one of my stories.

Monday, 8 September 2014

A matter of location

We've set off on our big adventure in the mobile writing retreat and by the time you read this we should be somewhere in Wales ... that's unless our plans change (again!) or I get involved in the navigation.

For this trip, most of the time it won't matter much where we are. Usually when we're writing it doesn't matter at all where we are, but when it comes to competition eligibility that's not always the case.

This poetry competition is open to those who live or work in the West Midlands. The prize is a paid poetry reading in the Library of Birmingham.

This short story competition is open only to residents of London and offers a £1,000 prize.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A quick little un

Thanks to MJ Francis for bringing this little competition to my attention. You haven't got long to enter and kudos and publicity are the only prize, but they only want a few words and there's a fresh prompt each month.

I did think of illustrating this post about a flash competition with a picture of me flashing, but resisted as I'm not a complete tart. This however is. An apricot one.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hoping for the best

This competition offers £500 and a year's RAC European breakdown cover. As we're just packing up the van for a long trip, I'm hoping this competition is my only link with a breakdown service for quite some time!

Here's a picture I took of Gary, in Europe, on our last trip. Stand by for lots of scenic views from the mobile writing retreat over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Yep, it's IWSG time again! Am I insecure? Huh! I don't have time for that as I'm getting ready for a long trip in the van. We'll be out of internet range a lot of the time*, so I'm making lots of submissions and generally sorting my writing stuff before I go.  With a bit of luck not many of the rejects will reach me.

*I'm hoping that doesn't make me insecure and instead gives me the opportunity to relax and write.

I'm hoping that any insecurities you may have will soon be left behind and replaced with a wave of optimism.